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Blomquist: One Column Down, One Amazing Year to Go

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blomquist-kerryIndeed, this is my first column as President of the Indianapolis Bar Association–the first of many I am told–and short of some bad state fair karaoke a few years back, this is the most intimidated I’ve been in a long while, though not by my position as steward of this exceptional organization but by assuming you want to hear my musings along the way.

That being said, the Indianapolis Bar Association is an amazing place and it is doing amazing things. If I have my way (and I actually think I just might) this column will be telling you about some of those amazing things and highlighting the people that drive them. This is, has been, and indeed always will be every lawyer’s bar association. Consider this an open and extended invitation to get involved if something you read strikes your fancy.

While I am not intimidated by the role as chief steward (though I must say there are easier things to do than follow Scott Chinn in this or any other world) I am truly honored. Let me tell you why.

I am honored because the best lawyers in Indianapolis are engaged in this association; many have graciously agreed to be on my board… and I am grateful and privileged to have their expertise and advice.

I am honored because the IndyBar has a stellar reputation among metropolitan bar associations in this country as a well run, progressive, inclusive, cutting edge bar. Yes, that is a result of good leadership, but as important that is management–day to day, moment to moment, committee by committee and task by task. That is a credit to the IndyBar staff under Executive Director Julie Armstrong. In short, we are blessed.

I am the 135th president of this legal organization, which began the same year the American Bar Association was formed in Syracuse, N.Y., the same year that a telephone was first installed in the White House, and the same year that electric lights were first put into a retail store (in Philly by the way). I am honored to be following the best, the brightest, and the most committed lawyers of their generation.

I am honored because I am the sixth woman president in this bar association’s 135-year history, and I came to the IndyBar because I wanted to be part of its Women & the Law Division. That, and I was cogently mentored by the late, great Deb Hepler who was a living, breathing example that both women and men can do it all–if not always at the same time.

I am honored because I am a proud public interest lawyer. You just don’t find a lot of our kind in big metropolitan bar association leadership, and that is not a credit to me, it is a credit to those who have put their trust in me. It underlines that this legal community is diverse in its people and its practices. The fact that we are not all alike and that we do not always agree indeed makes us more open minded and thus stronger. We are over 5,000 members strong and at the same time, a force of one, with a simple mission: to serve our members, promote justice and enhance the legal profession. And folks, we have been doing that since 1878.

In 2013, we will bring this membership online CLE and accompanying resources and direct website access to your sections and committees, giving you a chance to build your IndyBar membership the way you want it. All while continuing the best work we do from monitoring the Legislature for potential changes to our justice and legal system, to responding to unfair judicial criticism, to providing exceptional pro bono and mentoring opportunities within our bar. This year we begin collaboration with IPS’s Shortridge Legal Magnet High School, providing lawyer mentors to their incoming ninth grade students and working with the federal court to hold a Naturalization Ceremony at their school doing Law Week. What a wonderful experience for kids who want to work in the area of law.

There is more, but alas these columns are limited in space. Just please know that even with as much as we do as a metro bar association, there is always room for bold improvement and change. So contact me, or Julie, or President Elect Jeff Abrams if you have thoughts. All of the “amazing things” we do now started with a thought.

Finally, thank you. Contrary to the overused witticism, I am delighted to be part of an organization that has me as its president. Here’s to a great 2013.•
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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